Our culture is messed up sometimes. Serious and important issues are going on around the world, yet Hollywood celebrities and their crazy lives dominate the headlines (think Britney Spears). The wackier and more outlandish they act, the more publicity they receive.
With all that the media could focus on, how people in the public eye get away with some of the stuff they say (think Rosie O'Donnell)....or do not get away with the things they say (think Don Imus) always amazes me. I think the major media outlets manipulate these celebrities to feed their own ratings, and the more disrespectful the words, the higher the ratings. We are rewarding people for being down right mean-spirited.
All these over the top personalities hide behind the constitutional right of "Free Speech", but fail to remember that with all rights come responsibilities. Just because you can say something, does not mean you should say it!
The real issue is one of respect. For our society to function and prosper we cannot only be concerned with every individuals rights to do and say what they please. Rather we need to balance our attention toward a requirement of people to be respectful toward others.
(Please note, this is not about right or left, republican or democrat, religious or atheist....it is about society being held to a common level of public respect and decorum. Granted, these are "subjective" terms....and people who like to pick fights for the sake of argument will tell me that I am wanting to dictate what is "correct" behavior. This is not my point. Most people can agree on what is socially acceptable and what is not. The contrarians of the world like to push the envelope to get a reaction from others, but in their heart they know what they are doing and saying...so don't try to read more into this blog post than I am saying).
Dignified and proper behavior is not a lot to ask from those around us, celebrity or otherwise. This means that you do not call people names, do not exaggerate the facts for effect, do not cuss and swear, and do not be hurtful and harmful. This is what we try to teach kids in school. Robert Fulghum's best selling book "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten" is right on target for how to behave in society.
I am not suggesting that people should not have heated debate. I love heated debate. However, it is my deep seeded belief that if you stoop to being disrespectful, then it is not debate at all...it is just a bitchy fight. Share your thoughts and opinions all day long, but do not roll in the mud.
Additionally, if you are respectful of others points of view (I know for a fact that I am not always right in my views, and my guess is that you are not the smartest person on the planet either, so face up to the thought that maybe you might be wrong!...this will make for better conversations that can lead to learning), then there are no hurt feelings at the end of a spirited discussion. Egos can't get bruised if both know they are going to agree to disagree.
The point of all this is that you just need to be respectful of other people. This means their political beliefs, religious/spiritual practices, emotional causes, etc.... We are a melting pot, which means we all get thrown in the soup together. It works much better when people are nice.
Have A Great Day.